#VoteFeminist: In Alabama and West Virginia, Abortion Access is on the Ballot

By Aina Ramiaramanana

During the entirety of September, I participated in calls to action, demonstrations, and marches, met with senators, and did anything I could do to try to keep Brett Kavanaugh off of the Supreme Court. One of the first things I learned about Kavanaugh after his nomination was that there was an extremely real possibility that, if appointed to SCOTUS, Roe v. Wade could be overturned, and as soon as I learned about Kavanaugh’s anti-abortion views and this threat to Roe, I was terrified. And now, I’m even more terrified – Brett Kavanaugh has the power to ruin my life and the lives of so many others if SCOTUS hears any case that brings Roe into question. As I protested against Kavanaugh in the late summer and into early fall, I found so many others protesting with me. We were terrified; we were angry. And when Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court, we were devastated and tired of our representatives betraying us.

The scary truth is anti-abortion attacks have been happening for decades. There are numerous policies and tactics that aim to restrict access to abortion across the country: from waiting periods, counseling requirements, 20-week bans, and TRAP laws on the legislative side to anti-abortion extremists who harass abortion care providers and patients and attack clinics. And sadly, it can get much worse.

In fact – if we don’t do anything, it will get much worse.

For example, in West Virginia this year there is a state constitutional amendment on the ballot that puts abortion rights in real danger. Amendment 1 (a horrific amendment) would lead to the criminalization of abortion in West Virginia if Roe is overturned. Again – passing Amendment 1 would make abortion a criminal act, no matter the circumstances. Yes, that’s right. There are no exceptions in this amendment, which means abortion seekers would be denied care under any circumstances, including in cases of rape, incest, and even if the life and health of the pregnant person is at risk.

The same thing is happening in Alabama’s mid-term election: Amendment 2 is a risk to abortion access and reproductive health and rights. In the case that Roe is overturned, Amendment 2 threatens to lead to the full ban of abortion in the state (again, no exceptions) and could possibly outlaw some forms of birth control (including IUDs) and emergency contraception. Amendment 2 would open the door to criminally prosecute people who have had a pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage or stillbirth, and would allow medical professionals to deny pregnant people life-saving treatments for cancer or other potentially fatal diseases if that treatment may harm a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus.

Haven’t we already been through enough?

To all of my friends, fellow feminists, and allies in West Virginia and Alabama, I urge you to vote NO on these amendments on November 6. I urge you to talk to your friends, loved ones, and peers and get them to also vote NO on November 6. We are sick and tired of representatives who do everything in their power to police our bodies, our choices, and our lives – now let’s show them that we’re fighting back and saying NO.

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